Wednesday 30 August 2017

Guild Ball: I finally played some! (Farmer's Guild launch event)

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Hunters - Snow and Skatha I've been guilty of vanishing slightly over the last month, partly being busy with the usual mix of life, work and games but also having dedicated a big chunk of time to fixing this hideously unpainted situation:

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Hunters - Unpainted

That's an awful lot of grey to cover...

Guild Ball is something I've written about before when we attended Steamforged Games' SteamCon in Leeds late last year. It's a mob football miniatures game where you're attempting to play the most dangerous game of football ever on a kill-or-be-killed pitch filled with dodgy (but beautifully detailed) characters from various power-hungry guilds from across the Empire of the Free Cities.

I came back from the con super-enthused to pick up the game, learn the rules properly and get my models painted up. True to form I did none of these things, and the Hunters returned to their bag, lost and forgotten in the shadow of shiny new board games (as much as it was possible to forget, that is, living with the most Guild Ball obsessed man ever...)

But then earlier this month, during a bit of a resurgence in the game at my local gaming store, Dice & Destiny, I found out about a launch event for the new Farmer's Guild: a few friendly games being played, with some promos and prizes up for grabs. The store is under new management and much improved in terms of decor, outlook and community engagement, so I'm more than happy to support what they're doing and in a fit of enthusiasm I signed up to play, along with my husband. This gave me just over three weeks to get my act together. Nothing like working to a deadline, eh?

Obviously I prioritised painting over learning the actual rules, spending lots of happy evenings pottering about with acrylic paints, green stuff and PVA glue making them a lot less plain and grey:

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Hunters - Snow and Skatha

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Hunters - Seenah

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Hunters - Egret

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Hunters - Hearne

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Chaska, Theron, Hearne

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Young Theron

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Theron and team

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Hunters team

[If you like the bases, by the way, they're roughly based on the one in this Sorastro painting guide.]

I also got in a rules refresher and some practice introducing friends to the game on a visit, and a couple more panicked 'aaargh, I don't know anything' games with my husband before the big day.

Guild Ball is one of those games where the rules, at their most basic, are pretty fast to pick up, but to get good takes lots of practice, strategic thinking and good knowledge of what everyone's models can do.

It will be little surprise to say, then, that I did not play well! Even so, the day was amazingly well run by our local Pundit (volunteer Steamforged rep) and loads of fun. Everyone was playing in the spirit of the day regardless of experience level and it looked like they were having a great time.

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - vs Fishermen

Highlights of my games included conceding two goals to Salt, the sea otter, a hilarious post-match overtime kickabout during which I scored a goal with 'borrowed' momentum and five minutes containing the most horrendous string of dice rolls I have ever put together in a game, ever!

Here's Salt, scoring his second goal...

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Salt goal

Everyone received some promotional tokens and an alternative art card for Grange, the Farmer's Captain. There was also a Farmers themed cauliflower ball model to take home for best painted team, which I was very excited to win against some amazing competition:

Random Nerdery - Guild Ball - Farmer's Guild cauliflower ball

It might look like just a tiny metal vegetable, but it was very exciting to me!

Nicest of all though was a prize for best opponent, where people voted for their most enjoyable game of the day. I was very proud (and super embarrassed) to win this prize too!

Prizes aside, I think it's so nice that Steamforged have designed an event around having fun rather than the usual winning-focussed tournament formula and I hope they offer lots more like it in the future. And I'm not just saying that because I'm terrible at the game... Hopefully I'll get lots more practice in with Theron and co before heading to SteamCon again later this year.

Big thanks to everyone involved at Dice & Destiny and especially our Pundit, Haydn, for the awesome day!

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